Hinds CC high school student in Vicksburg headed to national Skills USA

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Hinds CC high school student in Vicksburg headed to national Skills USA
Posted by
30 April

Hinds CC high school student in Vicksburg headed to national Skills USA


A Hinds Community College student in a high school career-technical program in Vicksburg is getting ready for the big leagues, but he has some more work to do first.

That award won for him a trip to the national competition in Louisville, Ky., in June and a chance to win a full college scholarship.

Before he can pack for the national competition, however, he will graduate from high school and study for the national race.

“He has an online tutorial that tells him what skills he will have to use and what he will have to be able to do when he gets to Kentucky,” said Thomas Maples, Britt’s Hinds instructor for three years who will travel with him to the national competition. “Then he’ll have to practice and prepare. He won’t have but about a month.”

Britt and Maples explained that the time crunch will be nothing new for the student.

“Skills USA in January canceled the competition in ‘precision machining’ and said students would begin to compete in ‘Computerized Numerical Control Turning and CNC Milling,’ ” said Maples, who is retiring this year.

That presented a problem for the Hinds competitors – the Vicksburg-Warren Campus did not own the simulator used for the CNC training. Maples said he took his problem to his dean, Marvin Moak, who immediately secured the needed Haas CNC simulator. That left Britt under the gun to learn it quickly so he could compete in March in the state CNC Turning Competition.

Britt, a lifelong resident of Vicksburg, said he has had an interest in working with metal since beginning the high school program three years ago. He thinks the interest might come naturally because his father, who lives in Florida, maintains machines for the pharmaceutical company where he works.

After high school, he plans to enter the two-year machine shop program at Hinds Community College’s Raymond Campus and then be ready to secure a job in a machine shop. His dream job, he said, would be in aeronautics.

While at Hinds, Maples said, Britt has excelled in the machine shop program. In addition to taking his academic classes at Warren Central in the mornings and his career technical classes at Hinds in the afternoons, Britt also is a part-time deliveryman for Fastenal Tools, which has allowed him a close look at machine shops across Vicksburg, including those at Cameron Technologies, Eaton Manufacturing, Batesville Casket Company, International Paper and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ Research and Development Center.

“He’s even an assistant teacher and he’s won awards at district and state Skills USA competitions in earlier years,” Maples said.

Britt’s role as an assistant teacher was made possible through his selection for the Career Pathways Experience, which allows him to assist Maples and fellow students.

The Skills USA National Competition will be June 22-26. First-, second- and third-place winners in the national competition are eligible for college scholarships from the Gene Haas Foundation of Oxnard, Calif., which honors winning students through the National Institute of Metalworking Skills.

As Mississippi’s largest community college, Hinds Community College is a comprehensive institution offering quality, affordable educational opportunities with more than 170 academic, career and technical programs. With six locations in central Mississippi, Hinds enrolled nearly 12,000 credit students in fall 2014. To learn more, visit or call 1.800.HindsCC.

30 April, 2015 News more
Posted by on 15 April

Hinds CC Gateway to College high school program turns interests into career paths

Colby Miller

Colby Miller

Michael Harris

Michael Harris

Colby Miller was losing interest in school and his grades reflected it, despite a zeal for all things tech. The same applied to Michael Harris, who yearned to emulate his father’s skills but just couldn’t make it happen in the classroom.

Each might have dropped out of school if not for a new program at Hinds Community College’s Vicksburg-Warren Campus that’s geared to keep students from giving up on their studies.

“In high school, I’d be lucky if I made a D in class, with all the students who are loud, talkative and don’t cooperate with the teacher. So, it’s hard to concentrate,” Miller said. “Here, you’re in classes with actual college students. They’re paying for it and they’re here to learn. And I’m making As, Bs and Cs.”

For Harris, it was test anxiety.

“I’d understand what the lessons were teaching, but when it came time for tests, I’d just get nervous,” he said.

The Gateway to College program targets those in the school system who have dropped out or are at risk of doing so because they have fallen behind in high school credits. Once directed toward the program, often by high school guidance counselors, students age 16-20 are placed in small learning communities and take basic skills classes while dually enrolled at Hinds.

Students entering the program must read on an eighth-grade level and pass Hinds’ placement test for full participation. Classes in reading, math, college skills and other subjects are then aligned for the level at which they would have been taken in a traditional high school setting.

Hinds began the program at the Rankin Campus in fall 2012 as the first Mississippi community college to become a part of the national Gateway to College network. In June 2014, the second full year, the Rankin program graduated 35 students.

“We were able to kick off the Vicksburg Gateway to College program this semester through great support from the Vicksburg Warren School District,” said Vicksburg-Warren Campus Dean Marvin Moak. “The principals and counselors were instrumental in helping us select the first group of Gateway participants. This program gives its students the opportunity to complete their high school education and receive college credit while doing that.”

Students who graduated from the Rankin program last year were able to earn an average of 22 college credits.

Moak says that is a big advantage. “These graduates will be able to seamlessly transition from high school to college. It is our hope that many of them will take advantage of our recently expanded career-technical programs for our campus,” he said.

Miller and Harris, both 19, are two of 28 students enrolled in the program this year, said Angela Davis, resource specialist for the program at the Vicksburg-Warren Campus.

“Students in the program are those where the high school environment just was not cutting it anymore,” Davis said.

Most often recommended are students who have trouble getting started in high school, said Program Director Denetra Taylor.

“We have the whole gamut,” Taylor said. “Right now, we’re looking at students who are maybe 17 and about to repeat the ninth grade for the third time.”

Kaylae Hartley

Kaylae Hartley

Kaylae Hartley, 18, said her grades have stabilized in the program after a rough start in high school.

“I made all As and Bs in elementary school, but when I got to junior high, I was slipping,” Hartley said.

She learned of the program through her high school counselor.

Harris and Miller say they already have future plans on what they want to do after they finish the Gateway to College program. Harris, also an expectant father, wants to learn the ins and outs of welding once his basic coursework is completed.

“My dad used to work at LeTourneau Technologies, so he’s pretty good at welding,” Harris said. “Last year, I took a welding class, but I just got to the grinding and torch-cutting part. It’s just something I think I could be interested in.”

Miller sees video games in his future, and not just playing them. “I want to go to a technical college for game development,” he said. “I want to create the characters and environments of video games.”

Without the Gateway to College program, their plans might just be pipe dreams.

For information about the program, contact Denetra Taylor at 601. 601.619.6881 for the Vicksburg-Warren Campus or Rebecca Tullos at 601.936.5580 for the Rankin Campus program.  Or see the Hinds website at

As Mississippi’s largest community college, Hinds Community College is a comprehensive institution offering quality, affordable educational opportunities with more than 170 academic, career and technical programs. With six locations in central Mississippi, Hinds enrolled nearly 12,000 credit students in fall 2014. To learn more, visit or call 1.800.HindsCC.

15 April, 2015 News more
Posted by on 05 June

Hinds CC Gateway to College offers second chance at high school

Annielyn Null_2256_web

Annielyn Null got not only a second chance to graduate from high school, she racked up 21 hours of college credit in the process.

Null was one of 31 Rankin County students who received high school diplomas from their home school through Hinds Community College’s Gateway to College program on June 3.

Last spring, for the first graduation ceremony, only five students graduated. Gateway to College, which began at Hinds in fall 2012, is a Mississippi Works Partnership between Hinds Community College and Rankin County and Pearl schools. The program enrolls high school students in danger of not graduating and allows them to finish high school at the college’s Rankin Campus while also earning college credits.

“Gateway to College changed my life,” said Null, whose diploma is from McLaurin High School.

She worked two jobs throughout high school, placing more importance there instead of on studying. She heard about Gateway to College and decided to apply.

“I saw myself falling off the deep end and Gateway to College wanted to change that,” she said. “The first week was the hardest but I soon realized I wasn’t alone in this. Everyone in the program was there for a reason, just like me. No one was judging anyone, and it was the nicest thing I’d ever seen.

“Every student accepted in Gateway has been given a second chance — a chance to prove everyone who has doubted them, wrong.  We have been given this chance to keep going and make something of ourselves,” she said.

Gateway graduates_2087_web


Gateway graduates include, front from left, Bianca Aguillar, Florence High, 13 hours of college credit; Taylor Shriver, Brandon High, 36 hours; Regan Clark, Brandon High, 36 hours; Caitlin Dempsey, Brandon High, seven hours; Harlie Jones, Brandon High, 19 hours; Emily Stevens, Richland High, six hours; Freda Washington, Brandon High, 30 hours; Gabrielle Whitesides, Northwest Rankin, 27 hours; Kaylie Teel, Northwest Rankin, 17 hours; middle row, Daniel Barber, Brandon High, 45 hours; Al Rawls, Brandon High, 25 hours; Kaitlyn Weeks, Brandon High, 21 hours; Ryan Greer, Northwest Rankin, 18 hours; Christen Harvey, McLaurin High, 42 hours; Bri’Chale Giles, Northwest Rankin, six hours; Nattilee Berch, Northwest Rankin High, 30 hours; Lori Copeland, Brandon High, 25 hours; Jacolybya Pittman, Northwest Rankin, 26 hours; Lan Le, Brandon High, 35 hours; back row, Taylor Jones, Northwest Rankin, 21 hours; Neely Gore, Northwest Rankin High, 17 hours; Parker Smith, Brandon High, 23 hours; Breanne Babbitt, Northwest Rankin High, 18 hours; Annielyn Null, McLaurin High, 21 hours; Austin Jenkins, Puckett Attendance Center, three hours and Larry Hackman, Brandon High, 45 hours.

For more information on Gateway to College see


05 June, 2014 News more
Posted by on 18 July

Utica Campus trains future business owners


The Utica Campus of Hinds Community College recently hosted 15 future business owners during a 10-day Dream Builders Entrepreneurship Institute. The participants were high school students from Jackson, Hazlehurst, Utica, Terry and Harrisville.

During the Institute, students were divided into teams and were given assignment and projects to complete. They participated in seminars, workshop and simulations on a daily basis, all of which were designed to stimulate, strengthen and increase their ideas and skills in producing a successful business.

During the last week of the Institute, the groups implemented the business plan that included purchasing the products, marketing and selling.The three groups were set up on campus and sold their goods for three days. The businesses included HighTrendality, an accessories and apparel company; Healthy Treats, a healthy foods company, and Da Snack Shack, a snack company.

Of the three business groups, Da Snack Shack was the most successful, with a 49 percent profit. Members of that group were Allyson Banks from Hazlehurst High School, Breykia Cooper and Joshua Gandy from Raymond High School and Randy Smith and Shandria Sutton from Hazlehurst High School.

The institute culminated with each group giving a presentation of skills developed during the nine-day Dream Builders Entrepreneurship Institute.

The Dream Builders Entrepreneurship Institute is sponsored with Title III funds. Dr. Tiffany Anderson is coordinator of Title III. Jessica Smith, business entrepreneurship director, coordinates the Institute.

Members and consultants of the Dream Builders Entrepreneurship Institute are, front from left, Jonnese Goings, consultant, Port Gibson High School; Brieanne Brown, Raymond High School; Shandria Sutton, Stacey Porter and MyJewels Bates, Hazlehurst High School; and Cordasha Bland, Raymond High School; middle row, Delesha Butler, Hinds AHS; Derek Taylor and Miyah Little, Terry High School; Jennifer Smith, Mendenhall High School and Allyson Banks, Hazlehurt
High School.; back, Joshua Gandy and Breykia Cooper, Raymond High School; Randy Smith, Titus Smith and Johnathan Lynch, Hazlehurt High School and Jeremiah Thomas, consultant, Crystal Springs High School.

18 July, 2013 News more